Student Spotlight: James McGlinchey, U.S. Navy

Texas A&M University Cohort and Georgetown University Cohort

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

My last traditional education experience was High School (from which I graduated in the prehistoric year of 2009). I was by no means exceptional, but I aspired to be capable. After arriving at A-School (the Navy’s term for occupational specialty training schools), it was clear that my previous conclusion of ‘meh’ was far too generous. Though my confidence was shaken, I tried my best to keep the gap as small as possible with time and effort. The fleet that followed didn’t help things either. Still, knowing this was for the foreseeable future as a result of a decision I made, I endeavored to do my best. Though I am still not confident in my innate abilities, I am confident in the systems I’ve instituted and the commitment I have. 

Have you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

The Warrior-Scholar Project this summer was my first exposure to virtual learning. Though I have nothing to compare it to, I found it convenient and rewarding.  

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

Like eating my vegetables, I celebrate change with a furrowed brow and a reluctant acknowledgment of the benefits. The transition from active duty to college has been a giant source of dread. After being admitted to college, a catalog of all the things in my future that I knew nothing about started to build. The meaning of post-secondary reading and writing, the when’s and how’s of academic citations, or the definitions of an Oxford comma were all subjects that I lost sleep over. So I was beyond thrilled for the opportunity to participate in the Warrior-Scholar Project. I hoped for a glimpse into the unknown with professors who gave college-level lectures and fostered college-level discussions. I was also looking for a quick peek behind the curtain with college writing tutors and university research project leaders. I’m thankful to have gotten all that and more. The conversations with other WSP participants, fellows, and alumni about their lived experiences with this very same transition shed more light than I could have hoped for. 

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

The Warrior-Scholar Project introduced many vital skills to my’ tool kit’ as I prepare for college. For example, we were guided through analytical reading, persuasive writing, and introduced to MLA formatting during the humanities week. We learned the basics of Python, the problem-solving method, and the good habit of maintaining a formula sheet during STEM week. Although each skill seems relatively basic and straightforward, it was immensely helpful for someone that has been out of school for over a decade.

What was your favorite session, and why?

I don’t believe any session was not my favorite. Every part of the schedule was eye-opening in its own right. But if I had to pick, the most memorable part of the course was when I realized there was measurable progress in my capabilities. As someone who has not written a paper in many years and has never typed a line of code, I can now write good and print(bool(“Knows How To Code”)) – Maybe through Abby and Silvi’s infinite patience and insights.  

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you?

I believe each WSP fellow makes a difference for everyone in the cohort. Josh, Eric, Mac, Will, Brennen, Alec, Mary, and Oscar were all once participants and have decided to return because they wanted to help others. Their single-minded focus on bettering the participants’ future comes through clearly every early morning and every late night. Each has a uniquely personal experience and perspective of the upcoming transition, and all of them are endless resources. 

** Also, a sincere thank you to all the professors and host campus staff that so graciously gave their time to help service members and veterans in their academic pursuits. 

Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

With the obscurity of my future less complete and knowing that the WSP community does not only exist but is aggressively impatient to help is a great comfort. WSP has helped me become more confident as a student and as a veteran in higher education. 

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